People

Eric Pettit is a seasoned litigator who has successfully represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of complex commercial cases, including securities and financial services litigation, regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, intellectual property disputes, and environmental and professional negligence suits. In addition to his experience before state and federal trial and appellate courts, Eric has arbitrated many cases with AAA, JAMS, and FINRA.

Over his career Eric has represented a diverse array of clients, including real estate developers and investors, senior executives, A-list celebrities, music labels, movie studios, and Fortune 500 companies.

For the last several years Eric has represented numerous investors in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) program, which provides billions of dollars in federal tax credits to help incentivize capital investment in affordable housing.  During that time Eric has successfully litigated more than a dozen individual LIHTC cases all over the country, and provided his LIHTC clients with strategic advice on a variety of litigation, legislative, and tax issues affecting their investments.  Eric was also a key part of a trial team that represented a hedge fund manager in a five-week SEC administrative proceeding, which resulted in a complete dismissal of all fraud claims that the Commission had charged. 

In addition to his litigation practice, Eric advises C-suite officers and other senior executives regarding employment and severance agreements with complicated equity components, and formerly served as General Counsel and Director of Operations at Raider Planning & Construction, a real estate development company based in Southern California.

Full Bio

Credentials

J.D., Stanford Law School, Distinction

B.A., Boston University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude

California

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Judicial Clerk, Hon. Reginald C. Lindsay, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Rising Star, Southern California Super Lawyers


2013–2014

Recognized with a Certificate of Honor from former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom


2005

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Recognition

Rising Star, Southern California Super Lawyers


2013–2014

Recognized with a Certificate of Honor from former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom


2005

News

In the News · Source: Law360, Bloomberg Law, Financial Times, The American Lawyer, Reuters, The Global Legal Post, The Lawyer, Los Angeles Business Journal, The American Lawyer, Reuters, Commercial Dispute Resolution, GAR and Leaders League

April 23, 2020
A 13-partner team joins the firm's trial and investigations practices in Los Angeles and San Francisco

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Matters

Defended LIHTC investors in seven affordable housing properties against efforts by their developer partners to force the investors to relinquish their property interests for amounts that were tens of millions of dollars below fair market value. Following a bench trial in 2019 that Eric first chaired, the court rejected the developers’ claims, and instead found that the developers had engaged in bad faith.

Defended a LIHTC investor against efforts by the investor’s developer partner to manipulate an appraisal process in order to reduce the price the developer needed to pay to purchase the investor’s interest. The court ruled on summary judgment that the developer’s actions had caused the appraisal to be “tainted beyond salvation,” and—following a bench trial in 2019 that Eric first-chaired—awarded the investor hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.

Defended a hedge fund manager against fraud charges brought by the SEC. Following a five-week SEC administrative trial in New York, the administrative law judge ruled in 2018 that the Commission had failed to meet its burden to prove that client had defrauded his investors, and rejected the Commission’s request to impose a lifetime securities bar and damages in excess of $60 million against the client.

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Matters

Defended LIHTC investors in seven affordable housing properties against efforts by their developer partners to force the investors to relinquish their property interests for amounts that were tens of millions of dollars below fair market value. Following a bench trial in 2019 that Eric first chaired, the court rejected the developers’ claims, and instead found that the developers had engaged in bad faith.

Defended a LIHTC investor against efforts by the investor’s developer partner to manipulate an appraisal process in order to reduce the price the developer needed to pay to purchase the investor’s interest. The court ruled on summary judgment that the developer’s actions had caused the appraisal to be “tainted beyond salvation,” and—following a bench trial in 2019 that Eric first-chaired—awarded the investor hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.

Defended a hedge fund manager against fraud charges brought by the SEC. Following a five-week SEC administrative trial in New York, the administrative law judge ruled in 2018 that the Commission had failed to meet its burden to prove that client had defrauded his investors, and rejected the Commission’s request to impose a lifetime securities bar and damages in excess of $60 million against the client.

Defended the former president and chief operating officer of America’s largest home-mortgage lender against governmental investigations and dozens of civil actions arising out of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. The client was never charged with wrongdoing by any federal or state agency, and all of the civil lawsuits were either dismissed or settled.

Obtained summary judgment and dismissal with prejudice of numerous tort, nuisance, and environmental claims brought against a multinational oil company by a condominium owners association and dozens of individual owners. The plaintiffs sought in excess of $35 million in connection with a 110-unit condominium development built in Oakland, California, on a former oil terminal site that the client had sold decades earlier.

Compelled arbitration and obtained order dismissing claims for breach of contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, defamation, tortious interference, abuse of process, and intentional infliction of emotional distress brought by a registered investment advisor against a prominent national financial services firm. The arbitrator also found that the client was entitled to injunctive and potential monetary relief based on the plaintiff’s knowing violation of a confidentiality agreement.

Represented investor in FINRA arbitration against E*Trade Securities, LLC for advising the client that auction rate securities (“ARS”) were a liquid investment immediately before the ARS market collapsed in February 2008. The three arbitrator FINRA panel ordered that E*Trade pay the client the full purchase price of the frozen ARS he purchased and awarded the client more than 98% of the attorney fees incurred in litigating the case.

Secured voluntary dismissal of construction defect and unlawful distribution claims brought by condominium owners association against the client, a developer of luxury homes in Southern California.

Defended major record label against right of publicity claim filed by an infamous former Los Angeles drug dealer who alleged that the rapper professionally known as “Rick Ross” had adopted his name and persona without permission. The trial court granted summary judgment in the client’s favor, and the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision, ruling that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the First Amendment.

Drafted and helped negotiate executive employment agreements for the executive chairman and CEO of a leading national home lender and servicer.

With Bet Tzedek Legal Services, filed a lawsuit against a slumlord on behalf of two families living in uninhabitable conditions in a Los Angeles apartment building. After taking significant discovery, the parties reached a settlement on terms favorable to the clients, including the payment of relocation costs and other money damages.

News

In the News · Source: Law360, Bloomberg Law, Financial Times, The American Lawyer, Reuters, The Global Legal Post, The Lawyer, Los Angeles Business Journal, The American Lawyer, Reuters, Commercial Dispute Resolution, GAR and Leaders League

April 23, 2020
A 13-partner team joins the firm's trial and investigations practices in Los Angeles and San Francisco

View all

Matters

Defended LIHTC investors in seven affordable housing properties against efforts by their developer partners to force the investors to relinquish their property interests for amounts that were tens of millions of dollars below fair market value. Following a bench trial in 2019 that Eric first chaired, the court rejected the developers’ claims, and instead found that the developers had engaged in bad faith.

Defended a LIHTC investor against efforts by the investor’s developer partner to manipulate an appraisal process in order to reduce the price the developer needed to pay to purchase the investor’s interest. The court ruled on summary judgment that the developer’s actions had caused the appraisal to be “tainted beyond salvation,” and—following a bench trial in 2019 that Eric first-chaired—awarded the investor hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.

Defended a hedge fund manager against fraud charges brought by the SEC. Following a five-week SEC administrative trial in New York, the administrative law judge ruled in 2018 that the Commission had failed to meet its burden to prove that client had defrauded his investors, and rejected the Commission’s request to impose a lifetime securities bar and damages in excess of $60 million against the client.

See more
Icon close

Close

Matters

Defended LIHTC investors in seven affordable housing properties against efforts by their developer partners to force the investors to relinquish their property interests for amounts that were tens of millions of dollars below fair market value. Following a bench trial in 2019 that Eric first chaired, the court rejected the developers’ claims, and instead found that the developers had engaged in bad faith.

Defended a LIHTC investor against efforts by the investor’s developer partner to manipulate an appraisal process in order to reduce the price the developer needed to pay to purchase the investor’s interest. The court ruled on summary judgment that the developer’s actions had caused the appraisal to be “tainted beyond salvation,” and—following a bench trial in 2019 that Eric first-chaired—awarded the investor hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.

Defended a hedge fund manager against fraud charges brought by the SEC. Following a five-week SEC administrative trial in New York, the administrative law judge ruled in 2018 that the Commission had failed to meet its burden to prove that client had defrauded his investors, and rejected the Commission’s request to impose a lifetime securities bar and damages in excess of $60 million against the client.

Defended the former president and chief operating officer of America’s largest home-mortgage lender against governmental investigations and dozens of civil actions arising out of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. The client was never charged with wrongdoing by any federal or state agency, and all of the civil lawsuits were either dismissed or settled.

Obtained summary judgment and dismissal with prejudice of numerous tort, nuisance, and environmental claims brought against a multinational oil company by a condominium owners association and dozens of individual owners. The plaintiffs sought in excess of $35 million in connection with a 110-unit condominium development built in Oakland, California, on a former oil terminal site that the client had sold decades earlier.

Compelled arbitration and obtained order dismissing claims for breach of contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, defamation, tortious interference, abuse of process, and intentional infliction of emotional distress brought by a registered investment advisor against a prominent national financial services firm. The arbitrator also found that the client was entitled to injunctive and potential monetary relief based on the plaintiff’s knowing violation of a confidentiality agreement.

Represented investor in FINRA arbitration against E*Trade Securities, LLC for advising the client that auction rate securities (“ARS”) were a liquid investment immediately before the ARS market collapsed in February 2008. The three arbitrator FINRA panel ordered that E*Trade pay the client the full purchase price of the frozen ARS he purchased and awarded the client more than 98% of the attorney fees incurred in litigating the case.

Secured voluntary dismissal of construction defect and unlawful distribution claims brought by condominium owners association against the client, a developer of luxury homes in Southern California.

Defended major record label against right of publicity claim filed by an infamous former Los Angeles drug dealer who alleged that the rapper professionally known as “Rick Ross” had adopted his name and persona without permission. The trial court granted summary judgment in the client’s favor, and the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision, ruling that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the First Amendment.

Drafted and helped negotiate executive employment agreements for the executive chairman and CEO of a leading national home lender and servicer.

With Bet Tzedek Legal Services, filed a lawsuit against a slumlord on behalf of two families living in uninhabitable conditions in a Los Angeles apartment building. After taking significant discovery, the parties reached a settlement on terms favorable to the clients, including the payment of relocation costs and other money damages.

News

In the News · Source: Law360, Bloomberg Law, Financial Times, The American Lawyer, Reuters, The Global Legal Post, The Lawyer, Los Angeles Business Journal, The American Lawyer, Reuters, Commercial Dispute Resolution, GAR and Leaders League

April 23, 2020
A 13-partner team joins the firm's trial and investigations practices in Los Angeles and San Francisco

View all

Credentials

J.D., Stanford Law School, Distinction

B.A., Boston University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude

California

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Judicial Clerk, Hon. Reginald C. Lindsay, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Rising Star, Southern California Super Lawyers


2013–2014

Recognized with a Certificate of Honor from former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom


2005

Icon close

Close

Recognition

Rising Star, Southern California Super Lawyers


2013–2014

Recognized with a Certificate of Honor from former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom


2005